Exercise blood pressure response during assisted circulatory support: comparison of the total artificial [corrected] heart with a left ventricular assist device during rehabilitation.
BACKGROUND: The total artificial heart (TAH) consists of two implantable pneumatic pumps that replace the heart and operate at a fixed ejection rate and ejection pressure. We evaluated the blood pressure (BP) response to exercise and exercise performance in patients with a TAH compared to those with a with a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (LVAD). METHODS: We conducted a single-center, retrospective study of 37 patients who received a TAH and 12 patients implanted with an LVAD. We measured the BP response during exercise, exercise duration and change in tolerated exercise workload over an 8-week period. RESULTS: In patients with a TAH, baseline BP was 120/69 ± 13/13, exercise BP was 118/72 ± 15/10 and post-exercise BP was 120/72 ± 14/12. Mean arterial BP did not change with exercise in patients with a TAH (88 ± 10 vs 88 ± 11; p = 0.8), but increased in those with an LVAD (87 ± 8 vs 95 ± 13; p < 0.001). Although the mean arterial BP (MAP) was negatively correlated with metabolic equivalents (METs) achieved during exercise, the association was not statistically significant (β = -0.1, p = 0.4). MAP correlated positively with METs achieved in patients with LVADs (MAP: β = 0.26, p = 0.04). Despite the abnormal response to exercise, patients with a TAH participated in physical therapy (median: 5 days; interquartile range [IQR] 4 to 7 days) and treadmill exercise (19 days; IQR: 13 to 35 days) early after device implantation, with increased exercise intensity and duration over time. CONCLUSIONS: During circulatory support with a TAH, the BP response to exercise was blunted. However, aerobic exercise training early after device implantation was found to be safe and feasible in a supervised setting.
Kohli, HS; Canada, J; Arena, R; Tang, DG; Peberdy, MA; Harton, S; Flattery, M; Doolin, K; Katlaps, GJ; Hess, ML; Kasirajan, V; Shah, KB
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